It’s charming to create something, despite knowing that the souvenir would’t be alive too along. It cannot be stored in those enormous wooden boxes for posterity. It cannot be brought to the drawing room to entertain the guests. It cannot be mailed as a token of love. And, all that one can do to seal one’s memory is to photograph it — a consolation prize, a feeble attempt, but the last resort nevertheless. The fleeting moment has to be captured before it could melt, this temperamental snowman. 🙂
When the East Coast Blizzard unleashed its ferocity last month, several snowmen were made. And, my cousin, and his wife created a snowwoman. The statuette was gorgeous. She almost asked for a story to be written about her. The figurine became my cousin’s muse, and he wrote a moving story.
Because the snowwoman was adorable, I couldn’t resist the urge to spin a tiny tale too about her, and I
shared stole his muse. 😉 When we exchanged our flash fiction, I was amazed at how similarly, yet differently we had looked at her.
What was created might have disappeared, but we have given it a happily-ever-after. I am an incurable romantic that way; I want to believe that stories belong to that Eternal World.
And, let me present: One picture, Two Stories, A Melange of Emotions
Here is my cousin’s flash fiction. He writes intriguing stories at Navinradha.
Christopher’s care house
Laurie was looking out the window with a half knitted sweater in hand.
Her family had planned to visit her that weekend but the sudden snowstorm had caught everyone unawares. The bright but depressing weather was not helping the cause.
The throat cancer she was diagnosed a few years ago had worsened and she wanted to spend the last few days of her life with the family.
As dawn paved way to a light sunny afternoon, she heard footsteps from the adjacent room as the doors were ajar. Connie’s family had come to visit her a few days back but could not leave as the blizzard broke everyone’s travel plans. Snow piled up for more than 3 ft. and travel in those conditions was impossible.
The visitors had invited themselves to an unplanned holiday. The workaholic husband was disappointed he would be away from work, and the homemaker wife was upset that she would have to be away from their recently bought house. But the children were happy to spend time with their grandmother.
The storm lasted for two days and the mild reprieve they got made the kids venture out to build their favourite snow men and women.
Wearing ski gloves and boots, they went out and started building the white figures. Ron built a snow-man that resembled the famous Hulk character. Lisa settled for the traditional snow-woman with forks and spoons becoming limbs, and carrots and grapes forming facial parts.
Lisa looked at Laurie through the window and smiled. She smiled back and gestured to her that her creation was better than Ron’s. Lisa’s happiness skyrocketed and she ran towards her mother to share the joy.
Laurie sat in the same position for the next two days for any movement she made caused more pain to her already ailing body. The gruelling pain and sadness of not being able to see her loved ones made the cancerous throat dry. Tears trickled down from her eyes and moistened the wrinkled chins.
Her only solace and companion was the snow-woman Lisa had built.
As the weather improved and the sun shone, the snow-woman started to melt and so did the lady watching her.
Here is yours truly’s story:
Until Next Winter
“You are a pretty, pretty, snow-woman!” declares the kind lady, who carefully fashioned me. She removes her gloves, scratches her dog’s ears, and surveys me from a distance, with her head tilted, maybe an expression that she borrows from her dog. “I surprised myself,” her weak smile is lopsided.
The naughty canine removes himself from her affectionate clutch, and trots toward me. He makes me nervous; he sniffs my dainty nose, tugs my colourful beanie, lifts his leg, and gingerly takes a leak on my fresh white body. “Charm, stop abusing her,” she guffaws. Strangely, I feel warm, and I bask in the transient heat that the mischievous mutt created. Dogs are not that bad after all.
She stands akimbo, with her gaze fixed on my face. While her dog soaks himself in the pleasant winter sun, and vets every inch of the yard, she is as stationary as me now.
“Charm, your mom’s snowman is handsome,” her old neighbour observes from his garden. His voice is hoarse, his words flirtatious. She doesn’t thank him; she doesn’t tell him that I am a woman.
“The snowman is a bit fat, isn’t he, Charm?” the neighbour laughs. Her expression is as vacant as her black eyes, which are trained on me now.
She might have given me a pair of eyes just a few minutes ago, but I can see something beyond her purple cardigan, black boots, gray hair, panda patches, and the lines around her mouth and eyes.
Through the very eyes that she gave me, I can see a woman, who is so fatigue that she wants to hibernate like polar bears. I can see a battered soul who’s not depressed because of the blizzard. I can see her broken heart, and myriad reflections of her gloomy countenance on the shards.
“Am I the only one on this planet to fall head over heels in love with my snowwoman?” she breaks her own reverie, clearing her throat, adjusting her spectacles. Charm has now jumped over the fence. The old man treats him with a cookie, and the dog is oblivious to the storm in his human’s head. Bad dog!
My dear lady wears her gloves again. She pulls out her camera from her pocket. Click. Click. Click. The little device is put back in its place, and my human walks toward me. As though she is trying hard to swallow the urge to give me a tight hug, she stands in front of me, and shuffles her leg.
“Will you be mine forever? Will you promise not to thaw even if the sun chooses to be harsh on you tomorrow?” she runs her hand on my chubby cheeks. I want to assure her, I want to tell her that I belong to her, I want to tell her that I believe in forever too. But, she raises a red flag in front of my train of thoughts. “I am not naïve anymore, you know. You will disappear in a while, and I am bracing myself for the inevitable. I want to be prepared at least this time. But remember, you are one in a million. When everybody made a snowman, I made you, my little snowwoman.”
I am livid, for I am not able to shed tears for my kind lady. Her fondness, her warmth melt me. She looks at me for one last time, wears her brightest smile, grabs her belongings, and beckons Charm before entering her house. I wail. I try waving my delicate hands. I know my efforts are futile. She cannot hear me. However, I scream. “Until next winter, my dear lady!”
And, meet the legend! 🙂